Review Summary: Are you ready for a tempest?
There was a time in my life where I listened solely to post and/or sludge metal. And in that time there were few bands that could surpass genre-giants like Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Pelican, Isis or Rosetta. Those were the greats. Many local bands tried and failed, where the “greats” succeeded. But on one fine evening a few years ago, I discovered a band that was brooding, crushing, atmospheric and captivating all at the same time; Izah, the band was named. They were supporting Cult of Luna that evening, and I was blown away by how brilliant their sound was. I bought two EP’s later that evening. And I’ve kept a close eye on their progress these last years.
And there it was, Sistere
was to be released in 2015. No date was set, but there was a preview called ‘Finite Horizon’. I was immediately in awe of the sound. Izah transformed into a atmospheric sludge metal outfit to be reckoned with. With beautiful and serene passages leading up to crushing waves of sounds, gloomy clean vocals backing dark and frightening screams and guttural grunts... and this was just one track. It was like a sledgehammer constantly bashing my skull in, and it was good.
itself clocks in at a whopping 72 minutes. By debut standards this is ridiculous and frankly a little bit pretentious, but Izah gets away with it. There are only 4 tracks on this album, which means they all are longer than 10 minutes. The title track is the longest track on this debut, which lasts almost as long as the other 3 tracks combined.
It’s great to see that the track ‘Sistere’ doesn’t let down a single second, being 32 minutes long. It succeeds in combining all the parts that made the other tracks so stunning and throws in some electronic samples for good measure. This is something Izah does really well; combining different genres into one glorious, and epic conclusion. These guys know how to handle their instruments, and they seem to know what really makes an album a captivating listen.
The truth of the matter is: there are simply no boring parts on this album and this, this is where Izah truly shines. Izah is capable of transitioning from frightening passages filled with eerie speeches from historical figures, accompanied by a wall of noisy and crushing guitar riffs, into a death metal riff that’s dense and fast. Take the second song ‘Duality’ for example; it starts off as a death metal song, and transforms into a sludge beast. And the next minute the same song falls into a slow descend creating one of the most beautiful post-rock anthems you will ever here. Next thing you know, the record is over. And then you realize you’ve just listened to a debut for 72 minutes, completely stunned of how fast the time flew by. Repeat, here we go again.
This album is not for the faint of heart, and it may be too long for some people, but if you’re a fan of the aforementioned bands and bands like Fall of Efrafa or Light Bearer, then this album is something you will love. It’s brutal, crushing, brooding, eerie, honest, captivating, beautiful and frightening all at the same time. And you will want to hear more of it, you will listen to this record on repeat, only to truly find out what makes this release such a damn near perfect debut. And for everyone out there that isn’t into the whole “atmospheric sludge”-thing: try it, at least once. This album is a beast on its own, and it deserves to be listened.